The Platteville Common Council Dec. 12 approved 5–2 a feasibility study for redevelopment of the city’s Library Block, bordered by West Main, South Chestnut, West Pine and South Elm streets.
Economic Development Partners, LLC will conduct the feasibility study, which will be funded by a $25,000 state grant and Library Board funds.
District 4 Ald. Ken Kilian and at-large Ald. Patrice Steiner opposed the study.
The Library Block presently includes the library, the Block, Scott & Heenan Law Offices and Block Apartments, the Neighborhood Health Partners clinic, a dance studio, a real estate office, three houses, and a 16-stall parking lot shared by the library and First English Lutheran Church.
The proposal first introduced in August would combine an expansion of the library, either at its current location at 65 W. Pine St. or at a new location, with potential new rent-paying tenants on the block. UW–Platteville is listed as a possible partner for the project.
City Manager Larry Bierke said the study would “determine the library’s involvement in the block redevelopment project.”
“I think it’s pretty well understood by the Library Board if anything happens, it’s on them,” said Common Council President Mike Dalecki. “I think it was understood that unless redevelopment [financially] covered the entire block, it’s a nonstarter.”
In addition to the library and a new Neighborhood Health Partners location, the grant application suggests adding a community center, and housing for low- to moderate-income people, families and senior citizens.
“The feasibility [study] will let us know if it’s a go or a no-go,” said Library Director Carolyn Schuler.
The Platteville library, which serves as the central resource library for five surrounding counties, is crammed into 10,450 square feet at its current location. The grant application suggests doubling the size of the present library.
Kilian favors an expansion over tearing down the existing building. “I’m not particularly in favor of tearing down the building,” he said.
Kilian also questioned Economic Development Partners’ experience at projects like the redevelopment project.